It was poor technique from the moment we saw it on that clip. He had got himself too high/close at that point. If he'd used a proper High Key that wouldn't have happened. If he'd flown a curving sight-picture from downwind that wouldn't have happened. IMHO he'd have been much safer getting aligned with the RWY first and then losing the height. That way he had options. The way he did it he had none and ended in a scary radical manoeuvre at zero feet and low airspeed to recover the situation. His handling skills were OK, it's his judgement I am questioning. The caravan descends in sideslip like a brick if you ask it - being high and aligned on finals is the safe way, slip off the height when you need to. But not all that 1930's "crazy flying" stunt stuff. That was pure desperation.
In my spare time, I spent a lot of time flying for parachute clubs. Most of it was on BN Islanders. I became very adept at manouevering at low speeds on finals and also on round-out at not many feet getting round soft spots on the DZ and some of the jumping beans who had not yet landed. I could do most things with an Islander as long as I had 55 knots showing.
I know nothing about the Caravan but it seems to me that his first priority was to find somewhere safe to land and he reckoned he could get back to the airfield (which he did).
He ended up on a heading that was several degrees from the main runway heading. He had already achieved the major prize in that he (and the PJI) were most likely going to survive and then he decided to use the last bit of energy to get round the corner on to the strip.
What we don't know from the video is what he was looking at on short finals. Was there a ditch in front of him or some other obstacle? Only he could tell you that. What i can tell you is that he knew his aeroplane well and he felt that, having made the airfield, he could improve the situation for the survival of the aeroplane.
Parachute flying can be a very intensive business. You get to know your aircraft very, very well and fine judgement is the order of the day.
I can remember having an interview with Britannia (Thomson) many, many years ago. One of the interviewers told me that he was worried about my long haul experience with a 5-man crew and pointed out that they frequently did 4 sector days with a 2-man crew.
I gave him my log book and showed him one of my 38 sector days with a 1-man crew!
I did not see what that pilot saw, so he knows things and made decisions based upon information I do not have.
Based upon what I saw, I could guess that he lost the engine, and huge drag occurred right away. For a brief period things looked bad, and he was planning straight in, to a place we cannot see in the video. Then he feathered it, and an amazing whoosh pushed him from behind and below, and the runway suddenly looked "makeable" - and he was right! It's always nice when you don't have to truck out a bent plane, instead fixing the engine at the airport.
I've force landed three times after engine failures, twice from lower than that, and not back to a runway. All three times, I later flew the plane out from the landing site I'd quickly selected. Yes, I know, luck! But I made it work for me, and so did he....
What I can see is a situation that ended up with a perfectly servicable aircraft (O.K. it needs an engine change, but the pilot is not responsible for that) after an emergency that would have taxed a number of prople. None of the whingers on here knows what the ASI was reading during the final stages of the approach.
I'd like to hope I could do as well in the same situation.
Yeah, well I can't really see any evidence of the skidding turns people are claiming but bottom line, he made a successful landing and one where the aircraft can be used again. What's not to like? Most flyers would be happy with that, I think, except maybe those of the armchair variety.
I don't know what the naysayers can see that was bad, dangerous, failed. To me that was nothing short of perfect. It must be bloody marvelous being able to fly so much better & know so much sitting at a keyboard spouting utter bullshite.
I was saying that a flat ruddered turn is dangerous, inviting a stall / spin. However, in view of some posts I've gone back and looked at the vid full screen and frame by frame. I now think the ruddering round might have taken place as the LH main touches the ground, in which case I withdraw my criticism and award the man a gold star instead!
Jeez, what is it about forums that throws up so much negativity? The guy landed in one piece, job done as far as I'm concerned, couldn't give a toss whether he slipped his sides or lowed his high keys.
It looked fine to me but I'm not an expert. He may have dome something wrong that I'm not aware of but the outcome was he walked away. That's all you can ask for from a forced landing. Maybe he should have killed himself then we could all say 'Told you so.'
What's wrong with you keyboard experts? As far as I could see, that was a perfectly executed forced landing. What's with you spewing criticizm from your armchairs? Would you really have liked him to have crashed and burnt so you could justify your bile? Because that is all I see coming from you. As pilots, you should be applauding a safe forced landing. In fact, I doubt many of you could have done better. The plane ended up not bent with all occupants alive, on a runway. What can possibly be wrong with that? I just read through this thread, and it took me a couple of minutes. The pilot had less than that to make a dead-stick approach and a safe landing. That's many, many decisions and from what I can see, some very good flying, all in very little time. In fact, some of you bile-spewing people should be ashamed of yourselves. It almost seems like you wished him to die so your (very poorly placed) criticism would be justified.
PPRuNe amazes me at times with all the negativity!
The plane ended up not bent with all occupants alive, on a runway. What can possibly be wrong with that? I just read through this thread, and it took me a couple of minutes. The pilot had less than that to make a dead-stick approach and a safe landing. That's many, many decisions and from what I can see, some very good flying, all in very little time. In fact, some of you bile-spewing people should be ashamed of yourselves. It almost seems like you wished him to die so your (very poorly placed) criticism would be justified.
PPRuNe amazes me at times with all the negativity!
semmern, while agreeing this pilot probably did OK (see my post above), I take issue with your assertion that a safe outcome neccessarily means the pilot did a good job.
I have seen some appallingly pi55 poor flying which has ended in death and disaster, and some appallingly piss poor flying where the pilot got away with it (just!) by luck rather than skill, and the day ended with an aeroplane in one piece on the runway, crew intact, but no credit at all to that crew.
Last edited by Shaggy Sheep Driver; 23rd Dec 2012 at 15:05.
Any thoughts on the wind? I can't see the trees moving, but the wind over the microphone sounds significant.
I found it difficult to judge his flight lines relative to the runway, but I thought the turns looked natural enough to me. However if this is his 5th successful forced landing it seems that for an allegedly poor pilot, he's very consistently lucky.
I would agree with Pilot Dar. The pilot did a good job! Turning the aircraft is irrelevant if the pilot is accurate maintaining speed and AOA but risky with a pilot who is innacurate in their flying, distracted or in a panic situation. At least it was undamged but if this had been a Cirrus who would have pulled the chute?
"Poorly executed forced landing, it could have gone pear shaped with that S turn on final. The low level turn right before touchdown was dangerous.
If that was a check flight it would be a fail."
While several of you are in this mood, could you please also comment on the landing in the Hudson, I suppose you have brilliant insights into how you could have done that better too.
If one has the airspeed, then a turn is not dangerous at what-ever level. I was once following a slower aircraft down finals and needed to S turn along the finals in order to not have to break off and re-enter. The prat behind me, when told by radio to follow the Seneca, said "he is all over the place, what is he doing!" Maybe S turns are unknown to you, or maybe you were the prat following me that day?
Good technique and he managed to have enough to even bring it in off the runway and not block the field for a while. Everything else is airchair BS and remiond me never to watch a game of footie with this lot.